Theranos employees made a game where you shoot the investigative journalist that exposed the startup's major problems

Elizabeth Holmes

  • Theranos may be liquidated as soon as this summer, according to an investor email.
  • It’s a big fall for a company once valued at $9 billion and backed by big names like former Secretary of State George Shultz.
  • Some people inside the company blame John Carreyrou, the Wall Street Journal reporter who first revealed that the company was misleading people about its technology. 
  • So some employees made a “Space Invaders” game  played at a company party where you shoot little Carreyrou heads. 

Theranos, the once high-flying startup that promised to revolutionize blood tests, is on its death bed and needs more money or it will cease to exist this summer, according to an investor email published by Buzzfeed

There’s a lot of blame to go around — whether it’s aimed at CEO Elizabeth Holmes, former COO Sunny Balwani, or the investors that enabled the startup to raise $1.4 billion in venture funding for a product that didn’t work. 

But some within the company blame John Carreyrou, the Wall Street Journal ace that first revealed the company was misleading people about its technology.

Not only did Theranos employees once chant “f— you, Carreyrou” at an all-hands meeting, but employees even built a game where the point was to shoot little pictures of Carreyrou’s head, as well as the Zika virus, he tweeted on Thursday. 

Just learned of a priceless anecdote (so too late to include it in the book): At a company party, Theranos employees played a video game modeled after Atari’s Space Invaders: The gun was the miniLab, the bullets the nanotainers and the invader being shot at: Yours Truly!

— John Carreyrou (@JohnCarreyrou) April 12, 2018

On Friday, he obtained a picture of the game, “Haters’ gonna Hate v1.5”.

Space Invaders, Theranos Edition! pic.twitter.com/gOeUNqASBU

— John Carreyrou (@JohnCarreyrou) April 13, 2018

The black gun at the bottom is the miniLab and the other breed of invader in purple is the Zika virus! https://t.co/PtaYMIu49l

— John Carreyrou (@JohnCarreyrou) April 13, 2018

Carreyrou writes that the creator of the “Space Invaders” game got in touch with him, and will eventually send him the entire game so he can play it. 

He’s going to send me a copy of the game and I’m going to play it! I loved Space Invaders growing up. https://t.co/PtaYMIu49l

— John Carreyrou (@JohnCarreyrou) April 13, 2018

There are probably many other wild stories about Theranos in Carreyrou’s book, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” which comes out on May 21. Even the excerpts published in Stat earlier this week are incredibly juicy.

However, the anecdote about the “Space Invaders” game won’t be in the first edition. Maybe it can be added for the paperback. 

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Theranos employees made a game where you shoot the investigative journalist that exposed the startup's major problems